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How far do fleeing deer run?

Deer seldom flee great distances when bumped by hunters, but it’s often difficult to precisely document distances traveled, time elapsed and evasive maneuvers executed. Consider the many variables suggested in these comments and findings from researchers:

--“A whitetail won’t run far if it’s not used to being pressured by a predator. In some areas where people use vehicles to feed deer, deer might not run at all. They might trot 20 or 30 yards and watch. But if they’re pressured by a cadre of experienced hunters in mature, fairly open cover, their best protection is putting distance between themselves and the predator.” — Professor Karl V. Miller, University of Georgia.

--“A buck’s average movement from the site where it was trapped and tagged to the site where it eventually died was 700 to 900 yards.” — Jack Ward Thomas, Edwards Plateau in Texas.

--“During hunts, yearling bucks and 2½-year-old bucks travel farther than older bucks. During the first two days of a hunt, bucks in those age groups die at faster rates than any other sex-age class.” — Don Autry, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois.

--“The mean distance between a survivor buck’s last pre-hunt location and its first post-hunt location averaged .57 miles. The average distance between a harvested buck’s pre-hunt activity center and the site where it was shot was 1.92 miles.” — Don Autry, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois.

--“Deer learn quickly from heavy hunting pressure. While trying to reduce a deer herd in a 2,000-acre Georgia botanical garden, we used spotlights and suppressed rifles to remove them at night. The first year we shot 70-odd deer without much trouble. The next year we got 35 and the third year we got 12. We could barely sweep an area and they’d disappear. The next year we went in during daylight and got between 30 and 40 of them.” — Grant Woods, Woods & Associates, Missouri.

--“Radio-collared bucks that survive opening weekend in heavily-hunted southwestern Wisconsin do so by holding tight to thick, wooded draws and running a circuitous route in dense, well-known cover. They do not make beelines into unknown ground.” — Bill Ishmael, wildlife manager, Wisconsin DNR

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